User feedback is the linchpin of this new website development process

Growth Driven Design is a new concept that sprung out of the inefficiency associated with developing a website.

The process can be fraught with frustration as launch dates come and go and budgets are exceeded without much to show for the effort. Then, once it actually does go live, web content is updated sparingly, and most of the major functionality won’t change until the next redesign in three to five years. That’s far too long to keep the interest of users accustomed to perpetual user interface improvements.

“Through Growth Driven Design, companies can have a fully functional website up quickly that looks and performs better than what they have today, then drive continuous improvement over time,” says Bob Goricki, director of digital marketing, Strategic Marketing Services, Skoda Minotti.

“By monitoring and learning from users on a regular basis, companies are able to make much more meaningful improvements to their site, extending its life and improving its effectiveness.”

Smart Business spoke with Goricki about Growth Driven Design, how it’s implemented and what companies can expect from the process.

Does Growth Driven Design mean a company is launching an incomplete website?
While the initial version of the new site, known as the Launchpad in Growth Driven Design, is not a final product, it looks to users like a fully formed website with all the must-have features for launch. The Launchpad stage, however, is just the foundation upon which a company builds and optimizes its website over time. Growth Driven Design and the Launchpad concept are all about using visitor habits to inform the website design, rather than relying wholly on internal assumptions.

Throughout the process, companies use information taken from visitors’ page-viewing habits to hone their site’s features. These tools could include heat maps to learn how visitors scroll, mouse and click around the page; feedback from user surveys to get information on how to improve it; and one-on-one user testing with individuals to dive deeper into their navigation habits.

What should be expected from the process?
The Growth Driven Design Process has three phases. The first phase is the initial strategy that focuses on the user and how the website can help solve their problems. Next is the development of the Launch Pad site. Finally, the process shifts to continuous improvement. By adhering to this process, companies can expect to achieve greater success through their website and other ongoing online marketing efforts.

Who should be involved in the design process and who manages the live site?
The initial strategy phase of Growth Driven Design should include input from all key stakeholders — division leaders, production managers, the sales team and marketing department, and all the people who will execute the website design process.

The ongoing management of the site should shift to the internal marketing team and/or the external agency tasked with managing the site. They’ll gather and interpret the user data and bring it back to the stakeholders so a determination can be made as to the next steps to take.

Data should be reviewed on a quarterly basis to see how the site has performed compared to the previous period. With that information in hand, companies can determine how best to improve their site and review the impact of those changes.

What types of companies can benefit from Growth Driven Design?
Any company looking for more than a cyber brochure — a static site with basic information — should consider Growth Driven Design for their next website redesign. Companies that see their site as their most important marketing asset should seek to continually improve it by learning from their visitors.

A website is a big investment, not just in terms of dollars spent, but in the time that’s put into it. Companies do themselves a disservice if they invest in a website redesign and then let the site sit for three to five years rather than learning from users and improving it on a regular basis.

Markets change and evolve over time. Companies should be listening to what their customers and site visitors have to say and put their site in position to respond.

Insights Digital Marketing is brought to you by Skoda Minotti.